Speed hiking, also known as fastpacking, has grown in popularity in recent years and is, as the name suggests, a kind of traditional backpacking done at a quicker pace.
Why waste time rushing through the natural world?
Fast packers travel longer distances than traditional backpackers, allowing them to see and do more in a shorter period of time than a typical traveler would. When you realize how far you can go and how many new possibilities are available to you as a result, you may feel more liberated.
Traveling light is the most crucial factor in allowing people to go 30 or 40 kilometers in a day.
It’s the ideal sport for today’s time-strapped society. Fastpacking isn’t only for Dean Karnazes’s want-tobes. Traveling light is the most significant factor that permits people to cover 30 or 40 kilometers in a day. Double the miles beneath your feet by halving the weight you carry.
Matthew Hazley, from Northern Ireland, became the first person to complete the Triple Crown of the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Appalachian Trails all in the same year.
Two weeks and 39 hours later, he completed the journey of 7,525 miles (12,110 kilometers
National Geographic Adventure magazine quoted him as saying, “My objective was 40 kilometers a day.” For a 14-hour day, I’d rise at 6 or 7 a.m. It would take me 16 hours if I started at 4 or 5 in the morning. “
A competitive or aggressive approach to fastpacking isn’t necessary, of course. It’s not necessary for a fastpacker to spend months or weeks in the wilderness. Going quick and light allows you to think more expansively about what you can do in a given amount of time, and that’s what it’s all about.
There’s a lot of satisfaction in moving quickly, traversing large distances, and taking in impressive sights entirely on one’s own power and initiative.
As Meghan Hicks writes on Irunfar.com, fastpacking is a fantastic sport. “Wherever your feet have landed, that’s where you sleep under the stars.”
What’s the first step in fastpacking?
An overnight excursion may not be necessary for your first fastpacking trip, as long as it’s not too far from your home or you’re testing out new gear. The trail’s length might range from 60 miles to 200 miles. You might want to look around for a path that doesn’t have an FKT or one that sounds like it’s going to be easy to break. When it comes to travel, it’s not what you get to the end that matters; it’s what you get to the beginning.
It’s not necessary to do it alone. Make a plan with a companion and go to work. Remember to take into account the grade, terrain, resupply options, and water availability while planning a trip. Don’t be afraid to let someone know what your intentions are and when they may expect to hear from you again. If you’re a novice at endurance sports like jogging, hiking, or any other form of cardiovascular exercise, you should strongly consider prepping for your trip by doing some of these activities, as well as practicing with your pack whenever feasible.
Where Should You Speed Hike When Backpacking Fast?
You should stick to well-known paths because you won’t be bringing a lot of backup or safety gear, like additional food or clothes. A fastpacking trip can be done in any national park.
Gear for a Fastpacking Hike?
Your packing should be as light as possible. In terms of convenience, this may need some concessions, but then again, this isn’t a festival that calls for marshmallows and a bonfire. A lot of what you pack will depend on the season, the weather, and the expected temperatures, as well as your own tastes.
Trail shoes, as opposed to boots, are more commonly used by fastpackers since they allow for speedier movement. Calves must lift less weight, yet the best ones still grasp well. There are wonderful lightweight ankle-high boots from Merrell today that will fit many speed hikers as well, such as the all-new Merrell Capra, if you’re more of a hiker and like ankle support.
As with boots, a comfortable pack is a must-have item on your gear list, and the recommended maximum capacity is 35 liters. Getting your equipment down to 15–25 liters and weighing no more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) is a good start. Also, consider running pack-vests modeled after ultramarathons, which may be fantastic. And the lighter it is before you put your gear in it, the less weight you’ll be hauling.
The weight of a sleeping bag, a sleeping mat, and a shelter are the three most important components of camping gear. Down provides the finest warmth-to-weight ratio and compresses the best when it comes to sleeping bags. The size of the project is irrelevant if you can’t do it. Fastpackers like to shave away any extra skin from their shoulders and hips. A tarp, tarptent, or bivy is what most experienced fastpackers use for shelter instead of a tent. Wherever you’re heading, are there backcountry cabins available?
When it comes to packing your gear, you can’t go wrong with the Big Three: a sleeping bag, a mat, and a shelter.
Shorts are the most popular choice for fast packers when it comes to clothing. Having an extra set of clothes isn’t necessary.
When it comes to speed hiking, what food stuffs are the most beneficial?
Tradeoffs must be made in order to get what you want. While some hikers choose not to carry a stove, others may not be able to sleep well at night without a cup of hot chocolate or a cup of coffee in the morning. Lighter stoves are becoming more and more common these days (some as light as 1.5 oz., sans gas canister).
Similarly, the weights of food items vary greatly. As an example, the weight of fruit is often prohibitive. In addition to dehydrated meals, dried fruit, dry meat, and sports gels are becoming increasingly popular. Remember to eat light but also to expend as many calories as possible.
Purists, of course, advocate removing all labels from your clothing and shaving all of your body hair in order to shed even more pounds.
Make a list of possible circumstances before embarking on a light-footed journey. What are your plans if it begins to snow or rain heavily for an extended period of time, or if the temperature drops dramatically? You may choose to keep travelling, or stop and build a shelter, rather than carry additional clothing. Research is essential since it might save your life or at least help you gain weight. As an example, if a river full of alpine water is just one mile away, you don’t want to be carrying two liters.
While fastpacking is all about lightweight gear, don’t obsess about it too much. Having a quick and light attitude is key. This is an excellent pretext for drifting off to sleep.